Friday, November 1, 2013

Book Promotion for Dummies

I read Writing Romance Novels for Dummies and Internet for Dummies, so I figure I’ll start a new one, Book Promotion for Dummies.

Book promotion challenges all my brain cells. Last year was an exciting one for me with the release of both my debut novel and my first non-fiction book. This thrust me into the world of salesmanship. I hit the road with all the knowledge I could muster. I soon learned my second job stretched me out of my comfort zone far faster than the first job of writing.

Through the year, I learned a lot, adjusted according to what I learned, and dashed in a new direction. Here are my tips for other dummies.

****Ask for help. Don’t assume someone is too busy, or too successful, or too well-known. Many nice authors, agents, and editors steer me in right directions, or give me important advice. The point is that I would’ve never known if I hadn’t asked.

****Get others to talk about your books. This can be done through seeking reviews, contests and giveaways, guest blogs or blog tours. One suggestion is help promote the books of other authors. They could reciprocate, but even if they don’t, they will think and speak kindly about you.

****Form relationships in person. Be a joiner of clubs, friends of the library, church groups, anywhere to increase your in-person friend base.

****Form relationships online. Here, again, be a joiner. Find people with which you relate. Start conversations on twitter, Facebook, or by e-mail. When those same ones post about a blog, check it out, and leave a comment. This way, you enlarge your online friend base.

****Combine the two points above. Choose two to three writers at a workshop or conference with which you find common ground, get their e-mail addresses, or find them on Facebook and transform a personal contact into an online one.

****Be consistent in your promotion. I received all kinds of warnings to blog at least 3 times a week, to set up an author page on Facebook, to review books weekly on Goodreads, send newsletters monthly, hire a website master. All of these are good suggestions, but my feeble non-techy brain went into spastic twitches trying to keep up. What I discovered was that consistency in what I do is more important than frequency or the utilization of new sites.

****Libraries and school teachers are your friends, especially if you write children’s books or YA. Again, call, or e-mail. You’ll never know unless you do.


****Be patient. If your name is Bill O’Reilly, all you need to do is write a good book, tell about it on your show, and it’s an instant success. For those of us who aren’t even known by the people across the street, we must keep on doing the right things and wait.

    In fourteen months of being a published author, I reach far more people with my books now than I did in the beginning. I do nothing different, but I kept on doing the same things I did in the beginning. I have never stopped promoting “Victoria and the Ghost” that released all those months ago.


****Write another book that’s greater than the one that’s out now. Who knows? Maybe the next one is your break-out novel, and then the first one will sell like soup on a cold day.


What I’ve done that works well for this dummie.


1.     Do guest blogs and interviews.

2.     Blog a new post on my website every week.

3.     Contact schools and libraries and keep in touch.

4.     Volunteer at my local library.

5.     Post on Twitter and Facebook 3-4 times a week. I do keep a separate author page, but I'm not for sure it's that helpful.

6.     When I read a blog that’s helpful to me, I repost on my social media sites.

7.     Send bi-annual letter by e-mail to contacts to keep in their thoughts. (Also for any big changes or releases).

8.     Ask for reviews of my books. Some haven’t answered me. Some have answered no, but some reviewed my book.

9.     Wrote a sequel to “Victoria and the Ghost,” and sent it to 4RV Publishing. I’m now in contract for the release of this book in May or June, 2014.

10.   Kept studying the craft of writing, read more about social media, and explore new avenues for promotion. Never quit learning.

This dummie could use some extra tips. Please share with your comments.


  1. I have this bookmarked! Thank you for sharing.:-)

    God bless,

    1. Thanks, Susan. Wishing you well on all your promotion.

  2. Great tips, Janet. Especially the one about patience. That one keeps eluding me!

    1. Me, too, Laurie. Patience may be a virtue, but it's hard word.

  3. Janet, great advice. It really is about consistency in whatever you do. And, true, true, words, "For those of us who aren’t even known by the people across the street, we must keep on doing the right things and wait."

    1. Thanks, Karen. Yep, in parenting or promoting, consistency is the ticket. Do we need to be friendlier, you think?

  4. Dear Janet,
    Thanks for sharing the many steps you have taken to promote your book.

  5. Good, solid, sensible advice. Thanks for the encouragement.